1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2015
Just returned from 10 day Southern Caribbean on Oosterdam. While it was a good cruise overall there was nothing exceptional about it either. The ship itself is in good shape but it is dated. Most areas are clean and maintained very well. ... Read More
Just returned from 10 day Southern Caribbean on Oosterdam. While it was a good cruise overall there was nothing exceptional about it either. The ship itself is in good shape but it is dated. Most areas are clean and maintained very well. Some of the public men's restrooms smelled of urine. The crew was very friendly and did a great job. We have been on Holland seven previous cruises and were disappointed in the selection and taste of food in main dining room and with the front desk team. Our cabin was warm for us from day one. We waited a day to see if it would get better but it did not so we brought it to the attention of our cabin attendants and then the front desk. They should have just taken our concern and corrected it but instead we had to spend a lot of our vacation getting back to them that the issue had not been resolved and we were still warm. Each time they sent another member of front desk team up to take a temperature reading only to be told it was within their range, then it was adjusted but no change, a bottle of champagne (ice melted fast) then more calls and by day eight a technician came and agreed there was no airflow. He needed to get into ceiling. We left him to do his work and when returned he had fixed the issue. They compensated us but I would have much rather had the issue corrected earlier. I did not want to have daily back and forth discussion with front desk and nothing done. I am on vacation. Fix it or move me. Embarkation and disembarkation was very good. Pinnacle Grille was very good. Canaletto was also very good. Mariner brunch was excellent. Captain Willems was very visible and mingled with the guests at brunch! Never crowded and plenty of room for all. Mainly seasoned cruisers, not many kids. Good ports of call. Cabin was okay. Bathroom shower had water pressure and temp issue. Too hot. Tried to cool off with shower but no cold water. Drained slowly and had standing water. Balcony floor dirty. Glass was clean. Bed was not the same as past experiences. Did see them bringing new ones on board though. As I said we have cruised Holland many times. Westerdam, Nieuw Amsterdam, Noordam, Zuiderdam and Veendam. They made us want to come back. Can't say i will book next cruise with Holland unless it is a new ship. We did Quantum of the Seas this year as well and they have improved food and decor. Made us want to come back. Entertainment restrained. One comedian, a magician, singers and dancers. B.B. Kings Blues Club does not play blues, mainly R&B, Motown. Wanted to hear blues. Talented group of musicians. Played a lot of sets but little to no blues. Tried to sound like Al Green and Stevie Wonder. Don't ask either. They don't do requests. Same on Westerdam. Why call it a blues club? Just saying. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
Never having been on a cruise before We listened to many people rave about Holland America and selected them. We really enjoyed the trips off the ship and listening to the tour guides. The tour guides were very good but the bus rides ... Read More
Never having been on a cruise before We listened to many people rave about Holland America and selected them. We really enjoyed the trips off the ship and listening to the tour guides. The tour guides were very good but the bus rides are killers, no room for legs, even in 60 degree weather air conditioners need to run so windows did not fog! Our first night was in the Anchorage Hilton and that Hilton is not up to Hilton Standards! After Denali the over ten hour ride to Seward was terrible! The ship part was so so! When we got to our stateroom it needed vacuuming, sofa bed was so dirty I would not even put a suitcase on it, there were lumps in the floor under the carpet. We used the john, it over flowed and later that night, it would not flush (plumber came about 11:30 pm). Having floor to ceiling windows and a balcony was great for viewing. My favorite part of the ship was the Explorations Café and Crow's Nest on the top deck. We were set up for 5:30 pm dinner and changed it to open seating (that was great). We met quite a few different couples from, Canada, US and Australia. The fish dishes were excellent the other selections were not as good! The food was OK, but from the amount people were eating they must have thought it was great! Not being drinkers or gamblers meant about 1/3 of the ship was unnecessary for us. The ship is showing its age, worn carpets, shabby appearance in a lot of areas, but the bars, the shopping venues and the casino were well taken care of. They definitely want you to spend money while you're aboard. The crew were all very friendly and attentive, our cabin stewards were very friendly and unobtrusive. At the end of the cruise disembarking was not handled well, the group responsible showed up late, was not organized and seemed to be totally flustered! I am not sure we would ever take another cruise on Holland America the value in my opinion was not there! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
This was not our first cruise and compared to the others we were on, it was very disappointing. We were not impressed with the food. Selections were very repetitious, often not hot and not that tasty on the Lido Deck. There were more ... Read More
This was not our first cruise and compared to the others we were on, it was very disappointing. We were not impressed with the food. Selections were very repetitious, often not hot and not that tasty on the Lido Deck. There were more selections at lunch but many of them were closed at dinnertime. Food was offered by the pool during the day but closed around 5:00 p.m. Often sounded like some tasteful food was served at 10:00 pm for those who wanted to stay up late. Portions in the dining room were very small. I suppose you could order 2 servings but then why should you have to? We were so tired of the poor food at dinner in the Lido, we resorted to Room Service which was better. At least it was hot. We also found entertainment was lacking while on the ship. The stage shows were o.k. but nothing special. Again, repetitious the first few days. We found ourselves going to Art Auctions just for something to do! Of course the Casino was open while we were sailing but that isn't a spot where one wants to spend a lot of time. Our Room Stewards were wonderful. The dining room and Lido staff were very courteous but the staff serving the Entrees in the Lido were very pushy. We hardly had a chance to see what our choices were and they were saying, "What else do you want? What else do you want? Perhaps passengers should be allowed to serve themselves so they can make a choice. We had a handicapped suite which was wonderful. Everything was easily accessible and safe. Our room was very clean and the bed was very comfortable. Having the large deck and lots of windows was certainly a bonus which we enjoyed. Not sure if we would sail with Holland America again. If we did, it wouldn't be on the Ooosterdam. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2015
First Time Cruise; 40th Anniversary Celebration. With nothing to compare to, these opinions are based on a comparison to the views of others on Cruise Critic, as well as a comparison to the marketing of Holland America itself. Food: ... Read More
First Time Cruise; 40th Anniversary Celebration. With nothing to compare to, these opinions are based on a comparison to the views of others on Cruise Critic, as well as a comparison to the marketing of Holland America itself. Food: C+. Pinnacle Grill was a memorable, and clearly, higher end dining experience. Main Dining Room (Vista) was good quality and selection, but nothing rising to “The Best ___ I Ever Ate” level. LIDO buffet was on par with mid-range Las Vegas buffets; average quality, below expectation deserts and sub-par coffee. In-room service was good. Service: B+. Although the staff exhibited the traditional “smiles all around”, it was clearly part of the Designed Experience. The actual service was good, but the customer service phone line was never answered in less than a two minute on-hold time for the entire voyage. Nightly towel animals were a nice touch. Activities: B-. If the activities were eliminated which promote any kind of additional cost items, not much would be left. The trip included three days at sea, and this meant that they were long days with limited activity available to those who did not want to shop. Communications: A-. The daily activity plan was distributed each night (along with Junk Mail and Advertising). The Cruise Director and Master kept the passengers up to date on the fight against norovirus. Logistics: A-. Embarkation and Disembarkation went surprisingly smoothly. The Anchorage airport representatives were a bit confused as to meeting points and times, but this was resolved by asking better questions to other reps. The pre-printed Cruise Card indicated assigned seating for meals, when Open Seating was booked…this was corrected the first night. Health: D. Norovirus was active from Day 3 until the end. The isolation procedures appeared to favor non-revenue activities, such as the LIDO. The casino never closed or required gloves. The spa demonstration person used the same rubbing device on every customer without any protection or attempt to sanitize. Value: The Explore4 package was offered at booking, and, exclusive of that, the value would have been poor. As it was, considering the restricted view of the stateroom, limited activities offered, the value was “acceptable” at the very best. Experience: The trip was the first cruise, and was to be a Grand Celebration. But, where Acceptable Value meets disappointment (noro), the resulting overall experience was less than expected. Recommendations: Get on the first bus out of Anchorage, and you will arrive on the ship before the land-tour rail arrives, and have the ship, all quiet, and to yourself, for a few hours. Since we flew from the East Coast of the USA, we bookended the trip with overnight stays in Anchorage and Vancouver; which was good for travel fatigue impact. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2015
We have sailed on Holland America many times but this was the most disappointing. Firstly the same cruise a year ago was the same price and was 29 days with 7 more port stops which was excellent. Secondly it appears to us as guests that ... Read More
We have sailed on Holland America many times but this was the most disappointing. Firstly the same cruise a year ago was the same price and was 29 days with 7 more port stops which was excellent. Secondly it appears to us as guests that Holland America is trying to cut costs by reducing the number of staff in the dining room and Lido. We mostly had to wait for a table in the dining room and then when seated the table still was not ready for us. The dining room and Lido staff were fabulous and the food sensational but it took a long time to be served. Another area where staffing seems to be affected was in the number of activities offered each day. This was particularly disappointing where we had 15 sea days. Holland America needs to provide a service to guests wanting to do their own activity planning and organising. The entertainment was as usual excellent. Service in all areas was excellent except for the comment above about the number of staff per guest. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2015
Our first HAL cruise, re-positioning from Sydney to Vancouver. The price was right and there were plenty of sea days which we like. Boarding was easy as there were quite a number of transit passengers that had boarded in New Zealand. Our ... Read More
Our first HAL cruise, re-positioning from Sydney to Vancouver. The price was right and there were plenty of sea days which we like. Boarding was easy as there were quite a number of transit passengers that had boarded in New Zealand. Our first impression of the internal areas of the ship were 'Dull and Dark` with a capital D. It has an interior decor that just sucks up the light and makes everything dull, there are the occasional bright areas but they are few and far between. The accommodation deck passageways have dark blue carpet, dark brown faux wood panelling and dull creamy/mustard coloured walls and grey ceilings. All the lounges and bars are small and these are made smaller by dividers and high backed furniture. It needs are very big brightening up to get it out of a funereal home look. Our balcony cabin was OK but the only complaint is the way the storage areas and doors impede the aisle between the door and living space. As with all cruises we have had the staff were excellent and always helpful. Not a great deal of activities during the day so a bit dull in that area. Second sitting diners were always at a disadvantage for evening activities as they would be ending or starting at times that clashed with the 8:00 to 9:30 dining time. Saw a few production shows that were OK, guest entertainers were variable in quality. My wife wasn't too wrapped in the food overall but I thought it was pretty good. They do a pretty good steak on HAL. Two things that USA based cruise lines do not understand are tea and cheese and biscuits and HAL are no exception. Hard to get a decent common garden variety black tea bag or a variety of cracker biscuit with cheese. Also no draught beer available on the ship. Overall beer, spirit and wine prices on par with other cruise lines. The ship has the best laid out buffet we have come across. Well planned which resulted in easy access and service. Big tick! We also liked the big open area Pool Deck area on Lido Deck, great in warm areas. Whether we get back to HAL would depend on the price and where the ship was going. Our preference is for Princess but there are thing HAL do better than Princess and others they don't. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2015
We picked this cruise because of the itinery and dates matched our local school holidays, In hind site it was a mistake, and we probably should have gone on another ship that was closer to our demographic. Most of the passengers on this ... Read More
We picked this cruise because of the itinery and dates matched our local school holidays, In hind site it was a mistake, and we probably should have gone on another ship that was closer to our demographic. Most of the passengers on this cruise were elderly, we are in our early 40's with two kids. Its hard to articulate my feelings on this cruise, the ship was nice, the food was nice, if a little bland, the ports were lovely, and the staff did their jobs well. The ship just had no atmosphere, there were small groups that were having fun and enjoying themselves, but mostly people were sitting around looking bored. Entertainment, really was geared towards to older passengers so there wasn't a lot for us to do, though we did enjoy the BB Kings lounge a few times, but there weren't a lot of people at the shows, so there was little interaction between the band and audience, I also never saw anyone in the nightclub. By 11pm most might, you would be lucky to get a drink as most of the bars were closed and the place was a ghost town. We had a large internal stateroom and it was comfortable and clean, the beds were very comfortable. Kids club was pretty disappointing, granted there weren't a lot of kids on board, but the staff treated the kids like a bit of an inconvenience, and really didnt put in a bit effort with the entertainment. We also had some bad weather that prevented us from going to Dunedin and Milford sound, but we got an extra day in Melbourne which we really enjoyed. I think we'll be going back to Royal Caribbean, its more suited to us, the atmosphere is a lot better, which to me, is more important than some of the other aspects that HAL boast. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2015
Holland America by all accounts have dropped the service level and as we normally use Princess, this was our first encounter with Holland America The cruise companies continual pressure to sell, sell, sell, became very annoying, it ... Read More
Holland America by all accounts have dropped the service level and as we normally use Princess, this was our first encounter with Holland America The cruise companies continual pressure to sell, sell, sell, became very annoying, it happened at the bar, at the shops, at the unprofessional art auctions, and on the tours. The company is obviously hurting and the general view at our eight table dining was not to cruise with Holland America again for many and various reasons. Naturally many will think the cruise line a fine example and had some policies of Holland America been more subtle and less in your face then maybe our view might have been different. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2015
We embarked in Sydney fron the new White Bay cruise terminal, which was ok but disappointed not to be in Circular Quay. Was not allocated a cabin till checking in despite asking for a good cabin when booking a year earlier. We were on ... Read More
We embarked in Sydney fron the new White Bay cruise terminal, which was ok but disappointed not to be in Circular Quay. Was not allocated a cabin till checking in despite asking for a good cabin when booking a year earlier. We were on deck one , near the bow, but the cabin was ok. We were on anytime dining, the food was not great, there was only 3 nights out of 14 that we could say we really enjoyed our meal. The choice was limited, with only a couple of new items on each night, mostly the same options night after night. Service was not that good, we did eat in the lido each morning, some staff were very good, most were indifferent, not bothered. Same with the bars, some staff were excellent, especially Josef in the pinnacle bar, but some were poor. There was a 15% surcharge on all bar bills, disgusting when you consider the charge of $23 per day gratuities, we refused to pay that and opted to pay half, although wish now that we had not paid anything at all. Entertainment was not great, most of the acts were mediocre, did a couple of quizzes, the piano bar was quite good for a couple of nights but repetitive after that. The excursion charges were extremely high, not good value for money. it was very easy to arrange excursions from the ports, the information centres were very good, helpful and a lot cheaper than the ship prices. We particularly enjoyed Napier and Picton in New Zealand. We did a tour in Rotorua with Mount Tours, booked on the dockside, that was brilliant. All in all a disappointing experience with Holland America and would not sail with them again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2015
Took the South Pacific cruise out of Sydney, and were certainly not impressed with the ship. The Neptune suite was very nice (apart from creaking ceiling panels), was well appointed and maintained. The downsides of the cruise were: - a ... Read More
Took the South Pacific cruise out of Sydney, and were certainly not impressed with the ship. The Neptune suite was very nice (apart from creaking ceiling panels), was well appointed and maintained. The downsides of the cruise were: - a lack of shade on the rear of the Lido deck which resulted in a lot of folk having to either sit in the sun or move down to the less interesting lower decks. - the food selection menu was very limited, with servings being generally small (even in the formal dining rooms), and if you did not get in early, you could miss out on some items. The service in the Lido and formal dining rooms was generally mediocre and needs improvement. - a very common complaint among passengers was the almost total lack of interesting activities on board, even for kids, which was compounded by the Cruise Director who was either well out of his depth, or sadly lacking experience in the entertainment area. The conducted tours were well worthwhile and well organised, although we were unable to land at one island due to poor weather, so had a third '2 days at sea' period. To their credit, the staff were generally friendly, courteous and helpful at all times. Unlike some of their cruises, to other locales, this tour was certainly not a good advertisement for Holland America with most people we spoke to being disappointed,   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
Embarkation was good although we were not introduced to our cabin stewards until a couple of days into the cruise. Beds comfortable and pillows excellent. No drawers in the stateroom to unpoack small items into so do not understand why ... Read More
Embarkation was good although we were not introduced to our cabin stewards until a couple of days into the cruise. Beds comfortable and pillows excellent. No drawers in the stateroom to unpoack small items into so do not understand why there is a lidded BOX in the room instead. A chest of drawers could be put in place of this wasted item. The elevators were plentiful and always working. The bathrooms were always available and never 'out of order' Plentiful hand sanitation stations throughout the ship which was excellent. Lido buffet poor food and choice and lack of servers made everything slow. Traditional late dining. Waiters really need re-training - several times many of the table were given the wrong meals or missed a course or were given the requested mustard as they were finishing the last bite of the meal!! The prices for drinks including dinner wine was - IMO - rather high It was good that all staff were friendly and you got good day and a smile but some of this should have rubbed off on the customer relations desk where the staff were unhelpful because they would never listen to what you were saying. They would pick up on one word and give a standard reply to 'something' but not what you were asking about. The day time 'entertainment' was non existent. unless you paid to join an activity or went to sales talk. This could be down to a poor CD or lack of enteratinment staff The evening entertainment for late dinner sitting was very poor - one good show with a comedian but otherwise a 6th form college could have done as good if not better.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2014
This review is for the cruise from Auckland NZ to Sydney, embarking on November 7, 2014. First, the embarkation process was an organizational nightmare. Long lines (embarkation took over two hours) and long times standing in what can only ... Read More
This review is for the cruise from Auckland NZ to Sydney, embarking on November 7, 2014. First, the embarkation process was an organizational nightmare. Long lines (embarkation took over two hours) and long times standing in what can only be described as a dillapidated pier. Walking surface was uneven, which was a challenge for any passengers with mobility issues. We had booked a Neptune suite, which is supposed to include priority boarding, but that was not accommodated. Furthermore, my mother has problems walking and uses a walker, but there were no arrangements made for guests with these problems. Stateroom: As mentioned, we had booked a Neptune Suite. These suites are smaller than similar ones on other vessels. The size of the room was comparable to a standard veranda suite on Princess and Celebrity (both of which we have sailed recently). Our stateroom steward was nice enough, but it was the day AFTER sailing when we finally met him. On previous HAL voyages, our steward would introduce himself on the same day of embarkation. He was also difficult to locate if we needed anything. Neptune Lounge: The best part of the being in a suite. The ladies in the lounge were WONDERFUL and always willing to help out with any questions we had. They also tracked down our steward for us when we couldn't find him. I also love the fresh coffee in here. Wonderful espresso maker. Food: VIsta Dining Room - mediocre at best. Quality was upscale cafeteria and definitely not fine dining. Dishes lacked flavor, were often improperly cooked and the variety was limited. Seafood was often rubbery. Shrimp for shrimp cocktail (the simplest thing on the menu) tasted like it had been thawed and refrozen several times. Service was a comedy of errors with lost orders, delivering the wrong thing to the table, and never being able to find a server when you needed anything. Wine steward was never around and his knowledge of the wine list was severely lacking. Lido Buffet - Borderline inedible. Salads looked old. Fruit it was either too green to eat or too old. No in between. Pinnacle Grill - The first few days the service was a disaster. No cream for coffee, no servers around, and bringing the wrong items to the table. This improved after the first few days, but a few of the staff did always seem to be out of it. The coffee quality declined significantly after the first week on the ship. It was as if they ran out of the good stuff and started substituting Folgers. We also went to the Le Cirque dinner which was quite nice. Not 5 star, but still very good and the best dining experience on the ship. On Board Entertainment - Only went to a few of the shows and they were good. The band (HALCats) was good and fun to listen to. The guitar soloist in the Crows Nest was good too. Culinary at Sea: The cooking classes are a joke. Many of the recipe cards handed out had obvious errors and missing ingredients - the proceedure would tell you to use an ingredient that was not listed. HAL needs to double check these and standardize them. The mixology classes were good and fun. Casino: Good staff and some fun events. The casino hostess is very nice and helpful. All dealers were fun to lose money to. Final note: we had booked this cruise to visit Milford Sound and Hobart, both of which were excluded from the itinerary at the last minute. The reason given was rough seas. It is worth noting that on the cruise immediately prior to this one, they excluded these same destinations. Other ships on other lines were able to go and on the day we would have been going to Hobart, the ferry between Melboune and Tazmania was sailing w/o any problems. If you want to see the Fjords or go to Tazmania, I would recommend a different way to do so. Perhaps HAL should consider removing these two destinations from future published itineraries if it is common that they have to be excluded at the last minute. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2014
Recently returned from the Australia-New Zealand sailing. Boarding in Sydney was a nightmare and at an out of the way berth. It took over 2 hours of standing in line to get checked in and aboard. We chose this cruise based on the ports of ... Read More
Recently returned from the Australia-New Zealand sailing. Boarding in Sydney was a nightmare and at an out of the way berth. It took over 2 hours of standing in line to get checked in and aboard. We chose this cruise based on the ports of call, not the ship. Many described it as "tired" but the décor was ghastly, especially the bizarre thrones and benches throughout the ship. There did not seem to be any unifying theme in the décor. Our stateroom was fine and our room steward worked really hard; he said he was responsible for 29 staterooms and that seems like too many. Food was plentiful, but not outstanding and there were certain times of the day when one could not get coffee or anything, except through room service. I used room service every morning by ordering the night before. It was always delivered promptly, but the coffee was bad (as if it had been warming since the night before). I learned to order tea and use the hot water with instant coffee packets I brought from home. With the exception of one speaker, the entertainment was underwhelming. Australia and New Zealand are fantastic, but if I go back, I will do it as a land tour. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2014
We have sailed many times with Holland America,and enjoyed the cruises very much. This last trip to alaska was disappointing in that we saw a big downgrading in the vista shows,the movie rooms screen is very old and should be replaced with ... Read More
We have sailed many times with Holland America,and enjoyed the cruises very much. This last trip to alaska was disappointing in that we saw a big downgrading in the vista shows,the movie rooms screen is very old and should be replaced with a bigger and new movie screen,the casino needs a big renovation and the dining rooms menu isn't as good as before because of menu selection and presentation. The service was excellent as usual,and adan our waiter in the dining room was superb. We hope Holland America will address these areas, so we may cruise with them again. Our cabin overall was nice except it needs a new tv. The attendants again were excellent. Our cabin was 5028. The ship itself is very classy and the crew very professional. They have a great cultural theme in regard to art auctions, and a trio playing classical music. Side courses on cooking and windows 8 computer educational courses,along with karoke and night club entertainment. The swimming pools are nice,along with the spas. In conclusion the oosterdam has a great atmosphere and people,it just needs some updates. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2014
This was our first time on a large ship- Oosterdam has nearly 2000 passengers. The staff were superb and attentive, and the ship facilities extensive. The food was fairly good but not outstanding. The package was at first sight good value, ... Read More
This was our first time on a large ship- Oosterdam has nearly 2000 passengers. The staff were superb and attentive, and the ship facilities extensive. The food was fairly good but not outstanding. The package was at first sight good value, but the cost of optional extras was high: WiFi was extortionately priced, alcoholic drinks were very expensive, as was the spa, and shore excursions (though the ones we did were excellent). Entertainment on board was disappointing - we were hoping for some gentle ballroom dancing, but the dancing was either focussed on their dance competition, or cramped disco style. Talks were either all about on-shore shopping (yuk!) or very dumbed down where they were supposed to be informative. An irritation was lack of tea/coffee facilities around the ship - we had to go all the way to deck 9 for that. The ambience and style of the ship was brash and unimaginative : generally we found we couldn't wait to arrive in a port and get off - altogether a very forgettable experience. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2014
I have been on one previous Alaska cruise (a different cruise line) and one previous HAL cruise, on the Veendam. The Oosterdam seemed like a training ship for staff and crew not ready to actually serve clients. My experience with the bad ... Read More
I have been on one previous Alaska cruise (a different cruise line) and one previous HAL cruise, on the Veendam. The Oosterdam seemed like a training ship for staff and crew not ready to actually serve clients. My experience with the bad HAL website put me on notice to be sure to verify, verify, every arrangement. My friends and I booked spa appointments and excursions on line, as HAL encourages its passengers to do, but the repeated requirements to log in, log in again, and inability to toggle from one page to another, was silly. When I spoke to HAL representatives on the telephone, asking my specific questions, I seemed to stymie the telephone agents every time. They put me on hold, they’d inquire, and their answers seemed tentative and unreliable. I’d call back again the next day, go through the same routine, and sometimes was given different answers. Back to the Oosterdam: The hard sell on everything from wine to spa appointment was obvious and annoying.Our so-called wine steward at dinner, was there to sell, not to advise. She had no expertise on wines other than what the packages cost. She overfilled our wine glasses too much and too frequently, even when we asked her not to, obviously so that she could sell more wine. In the pool area, within five minutes at least 3 waiters would come by and interrupt, asking if we wanted to order more drinks (our glasses were still almost full). This was not being attentive; this was relentless selling. I found the English-speaking skills of the crew not up to snuff—certainly not compared to my previous cruise experience. Most requests that I made had to be repeated several times, with accompanying hand gestures. I inquired at the beginning of the cruise about a Jewish religious service to be held on Friday night. I was assured at the front desk that there was a service leader arranged for (which I had not expected). There was no leader. The room provided for the gathering had blaring music piped in from a neighboring bar area. On behalf of the others, I had to leave to find a porter and through hand-gestures and limited English, asked him to turn off the music in that meeting room. Our spa appointments, the same ones I’d verified on line and on the telephone before the cruise, were mixed up and had to be sorted out. Mistakes can happen, but the spa desk attendants were surly even though I showed them our printed reservations. Their correcting of the errors “in the system” were made grudgingly. I sent one item of clothing out for expedited dry cleaning service. I gave it to my cabin steward one evening, to be returned by 5pm the following day. The item was not returned, and I made three phone calls between 5pm and 10pm. No one knew where the item was. The laundry manager tried to use the excuse that the laundry machines had all been busy on that “at sea” day—then I pointed out that this was not laundry but dry cleaning. By the end of the night, she told me that she was sure the cabin steward would return it to me the next morning. I asked her to note that he should not bring them to me before 8:00 am—I repeated that, and she agreed. What time did the cabin steward knock on my door the next morning? 6:40 am! Two different managers called me later that day to apologize, which was appreciated. Each of them offered to reverse the charge for the dry cleaned item. I thanked each of them. When I received my bill, the charge had not been reversed by either of them. These incidents were small but irritating and, I feel there was a clear pattern of miscommunication, issues falling through the cracks, and poor training, that seemed to match the website experience, and the telephone agents as well. We thought the dinner food to be of excellent quality. The Canaletto dining experience was superb—far exceeding my expectations. The breakfast and lunch food at the Lido buffet was okay.. By the last two days of the cruise, the buffet was running out of fresh fruit, the yogurts had gone bad, and some of the vegetables for omelets and salads had turned brown.. Someone told me that the provisions were put on the ship in Vancouver, starting with the northbound voyage, and probably nothing fresh could be added in Anchorage for the southbound trips. True or not, towards the end of our southbound cruise, the breakfast and lunch food was on its last legs. The Oosterdam needs repairs. On two different days I saw buckets in corridors, put there to catch drips from the ceiling. Walls are scuffed. My cabin’s toilet seat was deeply stained. It wasn’t dirty—let’s just call it off-putting. The cruise director, Ross, was excellent—just the right blend of enthusiasm, professionalism, and friendliness. The embarkation and disembarkation processes were flawless. I would sail on HAL again, but not on the Oosterdam.   Read Less
Sail Date: June 2014
One main reason that we chose Holland America was the highly touted Culinary Arts program. We attended the first cooking demo and noted that the hostess, Nikki, did not mention or try to "sell" any of the for-purchase cooking ... Read More
One main reason that we chose Holland America was the highly touted Culinary Arts program. We attended the first cooking demo and noted that the hostess, Nikki, did not mention or try to "sell" any of the for-purchase cooking classes. We signed up for the class on Wednesday, only to be notified the next day that the class was cancelled due to low registration. On Saturday we showed up for the cooking demo at 9:00 am. At 9:10 a staff person wandered in and told us that the class was cancelled because Nikki was sick. The recipe exchange at 10:00 was nothing more than a staff person laying recipes on a table for us to pick up. At 11:00, we showed up to attend a seafood demo with a wine reduction. The Indian chef came out and demoed lamb chops with a carrot dessert - not what we came to see. He did not even bring recipes to hand out. The whole approach to this program was very disappointing. It left us feeling like Holland America is not committed to its programs. Given that this is a big reason that we chose this cruise we would probably try another cruise line next time. We travelled with another couple and received a dinner each at the Pinnacle restaurant. Upon checkin, at 7:20 pm and without our luggage, we were told that our reservation was for 8:00 that night. We had been traveling for 11 hours from Denali . After speaking with the restaurant manager we were "wait listed" for our free dinner. An opening never materialized and all we were offered from the manager was an apology. He made no attempt at all to compensate us or accommodate us in any way. My overall impression of Holland America is that they advertise and oversell programs knowing that they cannot meet the demand. It is simply a sales pitch to get you to choose their cruise line over a competitors'. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2014
My wife and I have cruised all over the world with a number of companies, so when we choose to book with HAL we where quiet excited as we where told by a number of our friends that the company had a very high standard within the cruise ... Read More
My wife and I have cruised all over the world with a number of companies, so when we choose to book with HAL we where quiet excited as we where told by a number of our friends that the company had a very high standard within the cruise industry. (I must say our friends had not travelled with HAL for a number of years.) We travelled from the Central Coast by train on the day of embarkation (which was from White Bay.) We where told buses where available from Central to White Bay not so. After 45 minutes trying to find any buses travelling to WB we where informed that a bus service had been booked by HAL and the only way to get to WB was by taxi. This was annoining as it was a sunday and taxis where sparce. Once we arrived at WB the boarding process was very quick and professional our luggage was at the room before we where. CABIN: Stateroom with large balcony at the rear of the ship was clean & comfortable thanks to our steward (the bed was very comfortable). Room (small for type suite, very tired needs refurbishing also TV too small for room. CABIN STEWARD: Excellent these people earn every cent they are payed FORMAL DINNING ROOM: Staff good, food good, service very slow a number of times. BUFFET AREAS: Food good but repetitive the same food every day. Buffet areas close very early they are open 2 hours for breakfast, lunch & dinner. Also staff serve you this at times was very slow. STAFF: Waiting, serving & cleaning are excellent, however Officers and above need further training in customer relations (i will leave it that.) ENTERTAINMENT: Very poor non existant, ship dancers & singers good but not enough. CRUISE DIRECTOR: Very disappointing conspicuious by his abense. CAPTAIN: WE saw him once on the cruise. GENERAL OVERVIEW: We where disappointed with the cruise (this was due to our expectations of what we had been told by our friends.) we still had a good time we made our own entertainment and made good friends as you do on cruises. SHORE EXCURIONS: Didn't book too expensive we did our own, It is obvious cruise companies are reducing costs thus this is crossing over to services and standards. I hope companies don't loose sight of what they are presenting to the paying public. We will not cruise with HAL in the near futher. PS. Be aware gratuities are NOT in the ticket price of HAL crusies add $11,50 to $13.50US pp/pd Gary And Esther.   Read Less
Sail Date: January 2014
First, and most important, today's HAL is not the HAL of years past. It was once a gracious and elegant line that appealed to well-traveled middle to upper age passengers. In HAL's effort to appeal to the masses, much has ... Read More
First, and most important, today's HAL is not the HAL of years past. It was once a gracious and elegant line that appealed to well-traveled middle to upper age passengers. In HAL's effort to appeal to the masses, much has changed. We are a well-travelled couple, mid-60's, who have been on 25 plus cruises all over the world. --Embarkation and Debarkation in Sydney:  Both nicely done and efficient. We had priority boarding due to a suite reservation. --The Oosterdam in general: Tired, worn, and in need of a major refurbishment. Much of the upholstery in the public areas is worn and some is dirty. Some worn carpeting. Generally clean. --Cabin: Neptune suite was spacious, clean, but showing some age. Above normal amount of rust on verandah and on bathroom door frame. Verandah was spacious, but no reclining lounge chairs. Cabin stewards did a fine job. The Neptune lounge is a nice touch and the concierge's are very pleasant and courteous. Room service was excellent and the quality of the food was good. --Excursions: Expensive, but nicely done. Hal has picked good providers who offer good tour experiences. --Dining: The main dining room food was generally good, but waiters are rushed. We found it impossible to reserve a table for two and many times, the table reserved by our concierge was not assigned at the dining room. The "As You Wish" dining just does not work well. Not sure what we should have received with our suite "Priority Dining Reservations", but we could not see that it meant much. The Pinnacle Grill food and service were outstanding. (A couple of the waiters were as good as we've experienced anywhere!) Unfortunately, what should have been a fine dining experience was ruined by the noise coming from the Atrium Bar. A handful of noisy drunks and a raucous, noisy bartender produced a sound level throughout the Pinnacle that was really annoying. This occurred mainly up until 7PM, when "drink specials" seemed to pull in the worst behaved. Wine prices are very high-about five times retail at the liquor store for the wines we enjoy. The "dress code" did not appear to be enforced. We frequently saw passengers in jeans and shorts in the dining room, with some dressed that way even on formal nights. In a few cases, the guy who mows my lawn looks about as good. I'm all for casual dress, but a dress code should be enforced or why have it? --Entertainment: We very much enjoyed the individual acts in the theater. The "revue type" shows are not our favorites, but the few we attended were OK. There has been an obvious reduction in pre-dinner entertainment in the bar areas-something we have always enjoyed. --General comments: Crew was friendly and tried hard to produce a good experience. We met many nice passengers that we enjoyed, but, unfortunately, found too many who just did not know how to use common courtesy and etiquette. In addition to the dress issues, there were too many feet on the furniture and a few too many children. (Many passengers who were on the previous cruise were very upset about the 300-400 children, some of whom were not supervised or controlled by anyone!) Are there any people who can close a door without slamming it? I can't blame HAL for the passengers, but do believe it's, in part, a by-product of the HAL marketing to try and appeal to a different demographic. In summary, HAL does a lot well, but there was enough not to our liking that we will not book with HAL again. Others may find HAL very much to their tastes. We just seem to be a better fit for Celebrity, Azamara, and Oceania.   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
In 2013 we did two cruises on the Oosterdam. The first was in March to the Pacific Islands, the second was a round trip to New Zealand in December. We could not get over the difference between the two cruises. Our disappointments started ... Read More
In 2013 we did two cruises on the Oosterdam. The first was in March to the Pacific Islands, the second was a round trip to New Zealand in December. We could not get over the difference between the two cruises. Our disappointments started with the same dancing shows yes exactly the same on both cruises...surely we are not the only people who go on 2 cruises 9 months apart? We and other Mariners noticed cost cutting in areas that first time cruises would not be aware of such as, inferior quality toilet paper. We also got the impression that the aim was to "on-sell". The cabin stewards did a wonderful job as usual, but it was mentioned to us that that were now having an increase load to service more staterooms. On the NZ cruise there was a pathetic variety of activities and it appeared that bean toss each day was a lazy uncreative way to keep us entertained! The Captain, Travel Director and Cruise Director on our Pacific Islands cruise were absolutely brilliant and handled difficult people and juggling change in itinnery due cyclone so professionally. By the time we came to the New Zealand cruise we had new Captain and Directors, all who had smooth sailing and we hardly ever saw them "out and about" "around the ship". With our Pacific Cruise, The Travel Director would have a session in the theatre prior to each port and talk about what there was to see and how you could get around on your own. This was not so with the New Zealand Cruise Director. If you went to him at his desk he only tried to get you on an organise tour from the ship. The food was still at the excellent standard that one has come to expect. However the female activity team member and the female singers in the band were shabbily dressed and below our expected standard. The furniture, fittings are starting to look tired and the carpet was worn on the main staircase. There was a strong sewerage odour on deck 3 stern hallway and the ship smelt musty. We did hear that in the next two years the HAL fleet will be fully refurbished. I hope they can last that long! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
So, if you have been on Disney then you can't compare. The Oosterdam is old. Really old. Things work. This was pretty much a retirement people cruise. Only 1 family with two small kids. No teens and no other kids. Lots of old people ... Read More
So, if you have been on Disney then you can't compare. The Oosterdam is old. Really old. Things work. This was pretty much a retirement people cruise. Only 1 family with two small kids. No teens and no other kids. Lots of old people - like 75 and up. I think I was like the only 36 year old there. Oh yeah - really weird there was a dog - Chihuahua - on the boat. So you can bring a pet - I was told it was for medical reasons - really ? Shows are okay. Better than Carnival and Royal. But you just can't beat Disney. The only good one was the opera singer, but I guess people don't all enjoy that. I have to say they were creative since we were there for 28 days. The lounge performers are good. The standard bands. What was different was a classical violinist. Different from the traditional piano players and jazz bands you see on all the other cruises. Activities wise - the sea days are so boring - so we always booked a spa that day. Oh and you know the price always changes, but if you marked a good massage person you can get them to give you the same price for the who cruise. That is what we did. 2 hours for $89. Compare to Disney there is just way more to do and no down time. You just have some much to do on board that you don't even feel like it is a sea day. There was mass every day - like you want to go to church when you are on vacation every day - really? Oh the shops only open on sea days so if you come back early from the tour there was nothing to really do. There computer classes are great. Since they are free and usually a microsoft set of classes is like $400. The best part was that I found all my pictures and the techspet taught me on my own labtop. At least we got our money's worth for that. Look for the happy hour specials. We got 2 margaritas for $6 and that included the 15% service charge. But get those early. We found that when you get them early they give you more and in the big glasses, but people who came latter got them in smaller glasses. Cooking classes are definitely interesting and something different to do on the boat. Especially, since I'm a foodie. I love the tastings. The best part is that you get to ask the chefs questions - like hard ones at the end. We had creme brulee and I asked how to you add fruit flavors and able to compensate for the extra moisture in the creme. I learned a great trick that day. Truth be said there really is not much to do. The movie theater was nice and the lounge chairs are cool and you get popcorn. the only problem is that there is only like 20 seats. Get there early. we don't gamble and you know what every time we walked by there was like no one there - even on sea nights. Most people did not go to the pool, but quite a bit of people in the hot tub. the good thing is that they got 5. So plenty of room, not like on carnival. Dinning Room - this is the worst thing I have to say about the cruise. So Day 2, by the time I got to the end of my Caesar Salad there was a dead fly at the bottom of the plate. Day 4 in the Lido buffet at lunch a big fly landed on the chicken - They took that and threw it out. Day 5 the risotto was raw, but the grilled salmon was good. I kept having something wrong with my dinner from missing clams with the pasts, to no chocolate cake on the black forest cake - just cream and cherries, dinner taking 1/2 hour to come, sand in the muscles, gamey turkey - which if they just soak the bird in buttermilk - and the same with the lamb - took one bite and sent it back. So after 2 weeks of something wrong, the head waiter started coming to my table to check on my dinner and things got better. The best part of the cruise is the staff's service. So, compared to Disney - HAL staff is nicer. They remember your name and the staff always gets you drinks even if it is just coffee or tea. When my mom and I went to the Lido just to sit out and watch the wind servers would come and offer us tea or coffee, not alcohol. That is nice. They aren't trying to sell you something, but really serve you. This is what HAL is rated - really service and after cruising with so many other cruise lines the staff is the best. I also got sick on the cruise and the staff was great in taking care of all my needs and food expectations. So, find one or two staff and just keep going to them each time and they will remember you. You will get exceptional service rather than constantly changing and asking anyone. So you do get what you pay for. We paid $5000 for 28 days for 2. As compared with Disney, I used my Disney timeshare so it was cheap, but our friends paid $5000 for 5 days for 4. Disney you get the seafood in the buffet none on the Oosterdam. The dessert buffet is way better than the Oosterdam. More choices like crepes and really art that you can eat, not look. Over all it was okay. Oh if you get sea sick be prepared the Tasman sea is really bad. I had it bad. you can only eat so many green apples, but at least the patch and pill works to keep food down. Our friend didn't do as well and I had to give him a patch.   Read Less
Sail Date: September 2013
Embarkation: Great Suite: Great First day at sea: Great Juneau: Great! Took the fly out fly sighing tour. Best tour ever. Then things went to h-e-double hockey sticks. A storm came in which cancelled our stop in Sitka so they moved ... Read More
Embarkation: Great Suite: Great First day at sea: Great Juneau: Great! Took the fly out fly sighing tour. Best tour ever. Then things went to h-e-double hockey sticks. A storm came in which cancelled our stop in Sitka so they moved our stop in Ketchikan up one day from Friday to Thursday. Thursday morning we were told because of the storm we now couldn't stop in Ketchikan either. So they locked down the ship (no one was allowed outside) and sailed around in the storm for two and a half days straight. Come to find out, the Golden Princess stopped in Ketchikan Friday with no problems and people had a great time! With nothing left to do we drank and ate all day because there was no entertainment. You'd think with two ports cancelled they would put some people to work providing entertainment for all the restless people: but they didn't. Although our port charges were credited back to our account and a discount on a future cruise was offered, there was no other attempt to compensate for missing out on 2 of the 4 ports of call. No shipboard credits or anything. I've been on Holland two times prior and must say the food in the dining room was not good. We ate most meals in the Pinnacle or Canaletto because of this. To finalize, after not taking a vacation for two years and missing two stops in Alaska, I can definitely say it was a disappointment. I realize they cannot control the weather but to find out another ship went to our port of call on the same day we were supposed to was unacceptable. And please, don't lock people up like animals with nothing for them to do...plan ahead for situations like this. Thanks, The End. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2013
This was our 3rd cruise with Holland America and the 2nd time on the Oosterdam. Our previous experiences have been wonderful! But this time we felt let down. The activities seemed fewer, the food more limited and not as good, and the ... Read More
This was our 3rd cruise with Holland America and the 2nd time on the Oosterdam. Our previous experiences have been wonderful! But this time we felt let down. The activities seemed fewer, the food more limited and not as good, and the service somewhat lacking in the Vista dining room. We had chosen to sail with HAL based on previous cruises and had convinced friends to go with us due to the high quality of the experience. We felt let down and they made several comments about it wasn't all that special. Lest you think us complainers, we talked with a number of passengers and got the same message. As to the cruise itself, I absolutely loved Tracey Arm, the Mt Roberts Tram in Juneau and the Rainforest Zipline in Ketchikan. The evening programs were done wonderfully (except for the comic who almost put me to sleep). I was disappointed that they were still running the same acts as they did several years ago. Guess I didn't know they didn't change very often. Our room service and dining service were great, it was the breakfast service that was severely lacking. By the 3rd day, we abandoned the Vista dining room and retreated to the Lido deck -- not our first choice. In the end, we will probably use a different line for our next cruise. Too bad, we have fond memories of earlier Holland America cruises. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2013
We were on one of the last Alaska cruises of the season. Due to crazy weather conditions, our itinerary was changed and we missed one port - Sitka. Disappointing but trust that the captain knows best. They added a full day in Victoria, BC ... Read More
We were on one of the last Alaska cruises of the season. Due to crazy weather conditions, our itinerary was changed and we missed one port - Sitka. Disappointing but trust that the captain knows best. They added a full day in Victoria, BC so no complaints. I found my first Holland America cruise to be pretty lackluster. The ship is lovely but the entertainment on board is truly awful. The piano bar entertainer was the worst I've ever encountered. The singers in the "big shows" should learn to sing together and in the same key. I'd add a few consonants as well. I knew some of the songs they were singing and still couldn't understand the words. I felt like they were doing "cruise ship entertaining" which I find insulting. The HalCats sounded pretty good but they were not at all engaging. I didn't see / hear any of the classical musicians. The Dancing With The Stars final competition was poor. Only one of the "pros" knew how to ballroom dance. The show was poorly attended as well so I think the word is out that this is a bad idea. Casino was small and filled with the rudest smokers that I've ever encountered. I had two blow smoke directly toward me while I was at a slot machine. I much prefer NCL and their non-smoking areas in the casinos. Cabin was lovely and we were exceptionally well taken care of by our room stewards. Food was dull and salty. The Mexican buffet on the Terrace Grill was good but it had no change from day to day. Only ate in main dining room once because the meal took forever and it wasn't terribly exciting. They kept closing one of the drink areas in the buffet area so by the time you got your food and drink to the table, the food was cold. Service in the Lido buffet was sketchy. On the positive side - Alaska is gorgeous and we love watching the scenery from our balcony. Ports were great and despite the dull food and crappy entertainment, we had a great time. Hey, it's a cruise to Alaska, how bad can it really be? Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2013
We Boarded June 2, in Seattle after 2 lovely days at the Grand Hyatt in Seattle. We splurged and got the Penthouse suite 7045. Was met by Arnold the concierge he showed us to our room , explained what he knew then left. I called the ... Read More
We Boarded June 2, in Seattle after 2 lovely days at the Grand Hyatt in Seattle. We splurged and got the Penthouse suite 7045. Was met by Arnold the concierge he showed us to our room , explained what he knew then left. I called the Neptune lounge (for suite guests ) later and asked if we could have some hors d'oeuvres in the room and he said do you want to come get them.......no I don't, anyway that's how it pretty much went with Arnold, he tried but if he or his partner Ice got involved it got messed up, they tried so hard to be yes men they did not listen to what you were asking and it never worked out. Neptune lounge is really a joke, They make it sound so nice , but the same canapés for 7 days?? We actually got sick of them, same cookies, same everything good heavens they didn't even change the cheese!! We jokingly played a game naming them by the third day, there were only 5 so was not hard!The Dining steward and wait staff was excellent, no problem there, the whole staff was good, everyone spoke English smiled. Dinner was ok, nothing to rave about. though the shrimp was always undercooked and being and Alaskan cruise you think we might have had better fish. Do not ask for ice this seems to be a major problem my gosh it takes an act of congress to get ice. Any time we ordered through the Neptune Lounge it was a mess and took forever, be it ice food ,anything. The captain supposedly invited us to the meet and great ....captain did not show. It was very very rough for 2 nights, not their problem, but the last day which was Saturday, we still had a full day, when we left the room in the morning, they cleared out our fruit basket, emptied our fridge, left the food we had purchased to eat when we came back on board after Vitoria and left it all on the counter. It was like get off we have new people coming on tomorrow. Everything was shut down, they really did not care about you the last day, they considered Friday the final dinner night with the baked Alaska, no bars were open no entertainment, no shows no nothing, basically you are paying for 7 says and getting 6 so buyer beware. Then, since our food had gone bad, we called the so called 24 hour room service and was told (again we were in the penthouse) that they just could not accommodate us or we would be waiting several hours.I pay for the extras, they are not on this ship what a shame because it is a beautiful ship with a great staff. Ice and Arnold need more training as the front desk was very good but when he demanded we come to a 1130 am cocktail party that was the last straw . We had a beautiful room and did not feel the need to leave it all the time when we felt guilty is was the same thing, no captain no ships offices just other cruisers and a free cocktail, big deal..Improve the food provide the service you advertise . I think I am done with HA. Also the scheduling is ridiculous, 3 ships at the same time little ports and only 4 hours to see it, 9000 people all at once, who planned this???? The shop stewards were so pressed,bars bombarded restaurants full to the brim it was just a mess. Read Less
Oosterdam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.3
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 4.0 3.7
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.5 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.8
Enrichment 4.5 3.6
Service 4.0 4.3
Value For Money 4.0 3.9
Rates 4.0 4.2

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